Overdue fines waived for the new year

Stack of books

To give you a fresh start in the new year, we’ll be waiving all overdue fines on Monday 11 January 2021.

To continue our support throughout the year, we’ll also be suspending overdue fines during 2021. From Monday 18 January 2021, we will no longer charge you for returning an overdue item. However, fines may still be charged on items borrowed from other institutions via Resource Sharing if they become overdue.

Read more about these changes to our fines and fees.

Help everyone get the most out of the Library by practising good library etiquette and always being considerate of others. When you borrow an item, please follow our updated borrowing terms and conditions so that everyone has access to our collections.

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Jamieson, Assistant Manager Site Services (mark.jamieson@sydney.edu.au) or Jeff Cruz, Associate Director Site Services (jeffery.cruz@sydney.edu.au).

Lockdown Discoveries – Part 3

Lockdown Discovery Exhibition

Lockdown Discoveries is an exhibition currently on display at Rare Books & Special Collections in Fisher Library. Due to COVID restrictions preventing access to some people, we’ve created a series of blog posts to ensure no-one misses out.

The Lockdown Discoveries exhibition presents highlights from the Ron Graham Science Fiction collection, handpicked and curated by the RBSC Cataloguing Project Team. This is Part 3, the final in our series of blogs about the exhibition. Read Part 1 or Part 2.


All paths lead back to Lovecraft

When H.P. Lovecraft died in 1937, his friends August Derleth and Donald Wandrei gathered Lovecraft’s best ‘weird fiction’ from pulp magazines into a memorial volume and tried to get it published. Publishers showed little interest, prompting the two to establish Arkham House in 1939, named after the fictional town in Lovecraft’s stories, and formed for the express purpose of publishing all of Lovecraft’s writings in hardcover.

Derleth wrote a number of stories based on fragments and notes left by Lovecraft, inventing the term ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ to describe the universe from the stories written by Lovecraft and other authors in his circle. Derleth’s style emphasised the struggle between good and evil, in contrast to Lovecraft’s depiction of an amoral universe. Arkham House continues to champion ‘weird fiction’ to this day.

Richard Taylor designed the covers for these volumes. An author in his own right, he is perhaps best known as a cartoonist for Playboy and the New Yorker, and his covers for Arkham House are among their best.

The Mask of Cthulhu book cover
The Mask of Cthulhu
August Derleth, 1958
Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House
Graham SF 03050
The Trail of Cthulhu book cover
The Trail of Cthulhu
August Derleth, 1962
Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House
Graham SF 03055
The Shuttered Room book cover
The Shuttered Room & Other Pieces
H.P. Lovecraft (& Divers Hands), 1959
Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House
Graham SF 03101
Marginalia book internal pages
Marginalia
H.P. Lovecraft, 1944
Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House
Graham SF 03088

Shadow over Innsmouth was the only book Lovecraft published in his lifetime and he was far from happy about the print quality. He died a year later.

Shadow Over Innsmouth book cover
Shadow over Innsmouth
H.P. Lovecraft, 1936
Illustrated by Frank A. Utpatel
Pennsylvania: Visionary Publishing Co.
Graham SF 01140

In his works, Lovecraft makes reference to The Necronomicon, a book written in Duriac script. While we don’t anticipate anyone visiting this exhibition being able to interpret the script, we have been advised not to show you the internal pages for your own safety. In the preface, L. Sprague de Camp writes:

“So, if any reader be so rash as to undertake the translation anew, let me urge that he have a care not to move his lips or mutter as he does so. We have all, I am sure, been annoyed in libraries by people who mumble as they read; but never before has this petty offense been punished by the fates that befell Doctors Babil, ibn-Yahya and Abdalmajid.”

L. Sprague de Camp, in the preface to the Necronomicon

You have been warned.

Necronomicon inside front cover
Al Azif (The Necronomicon)
Abdul Alhazred, 1973
Philadelphia: Owlswick Press
Graham SF 06829

Fantome Press

Founded in Warren, Ohio in 1976 by artist, printer and publisher C.M. James, the Fantome Press specialised in small, fine letterpress reprints of fantasy, supernatural and horror poetry. Featuring works by various authors, including James himself, these booklets were typically limited to between 50 and 75 copies and often featured James’ beautiful woodcuts.

The woodcuts are made by carving out negative space from a surface, leaving only the lines and shapes desired to appear in the print.

Next, the remaining surface is coated with ink and the block is placed on a piece of paper. In this case, the print is created by placing pressure on the back of the block with a printing press, transferring the ink onto the page. The result is a unique print, that can never be duplicated exactly.

Reprinted here is one of the sonnet sequences from supernatural horror writer H. P. Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth. It tells the story of a person who obtains an ancient book of esoteric knowledge that allows one to travel to other planets and strange parts of the universe. In Antarktos, a ‘great bird’ tells the narrator of a mountain in a polar region that might hold an untold city buried underneath.

Antarktos internal pages
Antarktos
H.P. Lovecraft, 1977
Illustrated by C.M. James
Warren, Ohio: Fantome Press
Graham SF 08891

Coleridge was fascinated by the supernatural and metaphysics. He believed in the spirit as the true essence of a person, not the physical form. Here he is describing Sara Hutchinson, with whom he was infatuated, as she appeared to him in a dream. From his description it seems Coleridge believed he actually crossed a threshold while in the dream state and met with Sara’s spirit.

Phantom internal pages
Phantom
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1976
Illustrated by C.M. James
Warren, Ohio: Fantome Press
Graham SF 09630

Moone’s ode to Howard Phillips Lovecraft is accompanied here by a portrait rendered by James. Lovecraft is commonly regarded as one of the most influential American horror writers of all time. He helped invent the genre of cosmic horror, which is the idea that the universe is an alien and dangerous place, incomprehensible to most sane people. His stories often feature protagonists who encounter horrible beings from outside our world, resulting in horror, insanity, and death.

To HPL internal pages
To H.P.L.
Schuyler Moone, 1977
Illustrated by C.M. James
Warren, Ohio: Fantome Press
Graham SF 09684

Translated as Faces of Death, this is a collection of macabre figures and ominous landscapes rendered in woodcut by James.

Faces de la Mort pages
Et Faces de la Mort: blockprints
C.M. James, 1977
Warren, Ohio: Fantome Press
Graham SF 08536

Ghostly images

How would you create an image of a ghost? It became a popular novelty in Victorian times. By using a blank page and an ink pen, one would sign their name along the middle of the page. The page was then folded so that the wet ink created a ghostly pattern.

The Ghosts of My Friends is an unusual autograph album arranged by Cecil Henland, an author who wrote a number of novelty books for children and founded the National Society of Day Nurseries in 1906.

The book was circulated to the owner’s friends to sign and complete, quite similar to the ‘Ad libs’ game. The signatures and ghosts which appear in this copy were collected between December 1926 and April 1931, and feature English surnames such as Ward, Gross, Cox and Thomas.

The Ghosts of My Friends book cover
The Ghosts of My Friends
Arranged by Cecil Henland, 1905
London: Dow and Lester
Graham SF 10930
Ghost of My Friends inside front cover
Internal pages from The Ghosts of My Friends

Crossing genres

Not all science fiction authors write exclusively in the science fiction genre. Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was a famous American author who published in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction, winning many awards. Anderson won the Hugo Award seven times, the Nebula three times, the Prometheus Award four times, as well as receiving the Gandalf and SFWA Grand Master awards in 1998.

When he was a Guest of Honour at Boskone III in 1976 (organised by the New England Science Fiction Association), Anderson authored a collection of unusual writings. Published as Homebrew, the initial print run was 500 copies. The Graham collection has copy numbers 432 and 460, both signed by the author. Homebrew contains essays, poems, lyrics, articles, and the short story, House Rule.

Homebrew book cover
Homebrew
Poul Anderson, 1976
Cambridge, Massachusetts: NESFA Press
Graham SF 06879

Lockdown Discoveries was curated by the Rare Book & Special Collections Cataloguing Project Team: Vicky Chiu, Simon Cooper, Tonia Fossey, Chingmy Lam, Hiyori Ogawa, Phuong Pham, Liz Ray, Theresia Sandjaja, Dannielle Williams & some other guy.

Lockdown Discoveries team
The RBSC Cataloguing Project Team

This is Part 3 in a three-part blog series. Read Part 1 or Part 2 or learn more about the Lockdown Discoveries exhibition generally.

The Lockdown Discoveries exhibition is located at:
Rare Books & Special Collections
Open: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm
Phone: +61 2 9351 2992
Email: rarebook.library@sydney.edu.au

Library closedown – what you need to know

Sunset behind the Quad

Just like the University of Sydney, the Library will be closed from Wednesday 23 December 2020 to Wednesday 6 January 2021. Here are a few answers to questions you might have about the Library closedown.


When does the Library close?

The Library closes on Tuesday 22 December. Individual libraries and their information desks close at slightly different times (most at 4pm or 5pm that day) – check the exact times on our Library Locations page.


When does the Library reopen?

We’ll be back on Thursday 7 January 2021. You can enter any of our 24/7 spaces (Fisher Library, Law Library, Bosch Commons, Camden Commons or the Quarter) at 8am that day.

All other Library locations (SciTech, Conservatorium of Music and ThinkSpace) open at 10am. We will be returning to our standard out-of-semester hours in January.


Can I enter any Library spaces with my swipe card?

No. All of the Library’s physical locations are closed during this time.


What if I need to return an item?

All borrowed items with due dates that would have fallen within the closedown have been automatically renewed to 7 January 2021, when we reopen.

If you still want to return an item during the closedown, you can do so via our external returns chute in the Fisher or SciTech Library.


Can I use the Library website?

Definitely! If you are a current student or staff member of the University of Sydney, your membership of the Library provides access to our extensive online collections, electronic resources and databases. You can also reserve or renew items.


Can I contact Library staff?

Not during the closedown, as we’re on holiday too. We will respond to queries after 7 January 2021, when we return.

If you need something urgent during this time, please contact Campus Security who may be able to provide assistance during the closedown.


Does the Library have anything exciting planned in 2021?

Yes we do! For starters, we’ll be running the biggest Welcome Week program ever in Semester 1, and launching the new Susan Wakil Health Building Library in February. Be the first to know what’s happening by following us online:

In the meantime, why not listen to our final PeerPod of the year: Episode 19 – PLA Insider – Tips For The Holiday Break! for ideas on what you can do with a summer in Sydney and Australia in general!

From all the Library staff – we wish you a safe and happy holiday and we look forward to seeing you in January.

Lockdown Discoveries – part 2

Lockdown Discovery Exhibition

Lockdown Discoveries is an exhibition currently on display at Rare Books & Special Collections in Fisher Library. Due to COVID restrictions preventing access to some people, we’ve created a series of blog posts to ensure no-one misses out.

The Lockdown Discoveries exhibition presents highlights from the Ron Graham Science Fiction collection, handpicked and curated by the RBSC Cataloguing Project Team. This is Part 2 of our blog about the exhibition. Read Part 1 and Part 3.

Inventing the future

Professor Archibald Low, a physicist, inventor and engineer, was known for his pioneering work on early radio guidance systems. In addition to enthusiastic non-fiction books on science and technology, Low also penned a handful of novels, including this 1937 science fiction adventure which features a garage-built rocket-ship, a cloud-like space monster, evil aliens, terror rays from Mars, floating space islands and technological marvels such as a supervitamin pills and colour television!

Adrift in the Stratosphere book cover
Adrift in the Stratosphere
Professor A. M. Low, 1937
London: Blackie & Son
Graham SF 08933

In the book shown below, Doctor Dolittle, world-renowned physician, linguist, veterinarian, and animal rights activist travels to the moon on the wings of a giant moth. There he learns to communicate with the local fauna and singing plant life with the help of marooned sculptor, Otho Bludge, whose occupancy dates back to the separation of the moon from the Earth. Together they work with the Lunar Council to negotiate an agreement for annual seed production quotas (a common theme in children’s literature).

Doctor Doolittle book cover
Doctor Dolittle in the Moon
Hugo Lofting, 1956
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Graham SF 08853

Originally published as a short story Starship Soldier in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Heinlein’s controversial novel, Starship Troopers was written as a furious reaction to the United States’ suspension of nuclear testing in 1958. On the surface a military space adventure, it is at once a coming of age story for its main protagonist, Rico, and a vehicle for the discursive exposition of the author’s martial theories on civic virtue, criminal justice and voting franchise. While his Cold War opposition to communism is undeniable, Heinlein is equally critical of American democracy in themes that are as much satirised as they are presented in the popular 1997 film adaptation.

As science fiction, the work occupies a seminal position in the ‘space marine’ sub-genre, inspiring a military strategy game in 1978 that may be seen as the precursor to such games as Battletech and Warhammer.

Starship Trooper book cover
Starship Troopers
Robert Heinlein, 1969
New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation
Graham SF 16050

Collectable first editions

The most valuable editions are usually the hardcover first editions with a dust jacket. An author’s first book might be considered rare and harder to find, but in science fiction the most valuable tend to also be the best known. Titles such as I, Robot, Fahrenheit 451, Dune and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Bladerunner) are known as both literary and cinematic classics, and demand in collectors’ circles remains high for copies in fine condition.

I Robot book cover
I, Robot
Isaac Asimov, 1950
New York: Gnome Press
Graham SF 02356
Dune book cover
Dune
Frank Herbert, 1965
Philadelphia: Chilton Books 
Graham SF 06661
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep book cover
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K Dick, 1968
New York: Doubleday
Graham SF 05721
The Martian Chronicles book cover
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury, 1950
New York: Doubleday
Graham SF 04258
Clockwork Orange book cover
A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess, 1962
London: Heinemann
Graham SF 03893

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is regarded as one of Ray Bradbury’s best works. This first edition from 1953 features a personal letter written by the author to a fellow science fiction writer, providing a rare glimpse into his playful mind, which is contrary to the ‘brilliant nightmare’ painted in his famous book. The special asbestos-bound edition of Fahrenheit 451 mentioned in the letter is highly sought-after by collectors and sells in excess of $20,000.

Fahrenheit 451 book cover
Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury, 1953
Illustrated by Joe Mugnaini
New York: Ballantine Books
Graham SF 03937
Letter from Ray Bradbury
Letter by Ray Bradbury, 1953

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

This is an early 20th century reprint of Samuel T. Coleridge’s famous 1798 poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It was published by Haldeman-Julius Company as part of their ‘Little Blue Book’ series that mass-produced cheap pocket-sized paperbacks to make literature accessible to the average citizen.

I first encountered this poem in my high school English class, and the imagery of the albatross and the heavy burden of guilt weighing on the ancient mariner’s neck has remained with me more than a decade later.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner book cover
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel T. Coleridge, 192-?
Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Company
Graham SF 18489

Fandom

Fandom can take many forms. Here we have a hand-made book inspired by horror and fantasy stories and artwork. The book is a collection of handwritten stories, bound, with two variant hand-painted dust jackets. It may have been created for pleasure or as a student project. Unfortunately, no information has come to light (or dark) on E.C. Lambert, who concocted this work in Brighton, England, 1947-48.

It is not known how Ron Graham acquired the book.

Nameless Survival book cover
Nameless Survival & Others
E. C. Lambert, 1947 (revised contents page states © 1948)
Brighton, England: Bonar
Graham SF 08669
Nameless Survival internal pages
Internal pages of Nameless Survival & Others

Lockdown Discoveries was curated by the Rare Book & Special Collections Cataloguing Project Team: Vicky Chiu, Simon Cooper, Tonia Fossey, Chingmy Lam, Hiyori Ogawa, Phuong Pham, Liz Ray, Theresia Sandjaja, Dannielle Williams & some other guy.

This is a three-part blog series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 3 or learn more about the Lockdown Discoveries exhibition generally.

The Lockdown Discoveries exhibition is located at:
Rare Books & Special Collections
Open: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm
Phone: +61 2 9351 2992
Email: rarebook.library@sydney.edu.au

Goodbye Health Sciences Library

Health Sciences Library

Friday 11 December is the last day the Health Sciences Library in Lidcombe is open to clients. It has been serving students and staff of the Cumberland Campus for more than 50 years.

The Cumberland College of Health Sciences was established at Lidcombe in the 1970s. It officially became part of the University of Sydney, and known as the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1989-90. The Health Sciences Library was a central part of the campus, a place not only to study and research, but an active, bustling place to meet, network and share ideas.

The Health Sciences Library will be remembered as a great place to work, with a very unique character. As one of our staff explains: “There was always a buzz and vibrancy about the space and the students. The Physiotherapy and Exercise Science students were often doing hands-on work (literally) – massages and manipulations on the plinths/physio tables. It was quite a close-knit campus, set within lovely gardens and trees, which added to the Library’s special feel.”

The Health Sciences Library will merge with the Nursing Library and relocate to the new Susan Wakil Health Building Library, opening in February 2021.

Remembering the Library …

Watch this virtual tour of the Health Sciences Library from eight years ago.

Photo gallery

The Library to suspend overdue fines in 2021

Books on a shelf in the Library

We know how challenging 2020 was and we want to make sure 2021 is your most successful year ever! To support students and staff in the new year, the Library will be suspending overdue fines in 2021. From Monday 18 January 2021, we won’t charge you for returning an overdue item and we’ll waive all overdue fines on your account.

We do want to make sure all students and staff have access to items that are in demand, so you should still return your items on time, especially those in our 2-hour collection and items that are recalled by another person. If you do have an item that is overdue, you won’t be able to borrow another item or renew any of your items until the overdue item is returned. We’ll send you due-date reminders to your University email address, and you can always check MyAccount for a list of your loaned items and their due dates.

If you have an item that is long overdue, we’ll mark it as lost. This means we’ve assumed you’ve lost the item, and you’ll be sent a lost item bill. If the lost item isn’t returned, replaced or paid for within three months, it may attract additional academic sanctions. For more information, please see our updated guide on fines and fees.

Help everyone get the most out of the Library by practising good library etiquette and always being considerate of others. When you borrow an item, be sure to follow our updated borrowing terms and conditions so that everyone has access to our collections.

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Jamieson, Assistant Manager Site Services (mark.jamieson@sydney.edu.au), or Jeff Cruz, Associate Director Site Services (jeffery.cruz@sydney.edu.au).